Image via Wikipedia
I was reminded of a school experience of @stopstalkingme from many many years ago when I read this blog post at Zen Habits: Education Needs to Be Turned on Its Head
People often grow up to be competent learners, and achieve great things, after going through the traditional school system. But this is in spite of the system, not because of it. We are pretty adaptable people, inherently curious, and we can learn without an authority, but the current school system tries to beat this down. It usually fails to some degree, but to the degree it succeeds, it harms people.
The time this reminded me of was 18 years ago when @SSM was in the 2nd grade. She had written a long story, like 12 pages long, and it was a wonderfully entertaining story about a squirrel. It was a mystery with a surprise ending. I most definitely didn't see it coming.
She turned in her story to her teacher Mrs. Hood, and what she got back was not a warm response to a wonderfully told story. What she got back was that she hadn't stayed within the lines with her handwriting. She was told to copy her story over. She turned it in again and was told, "Not good enough. Do it again." This happened four times. It was a great lesson for @SSM. When I asked her what she had learned from this experience her answer was, "I have to write shorter stories."
Eighteen years later I can say that she used to write some great stories. She doesn't write stories anymore. Mrs. Hood, and the education system drove that desire right out of her. I can remember being totally pissed at the time that the system had their priorities upside down. Those priorities are still upside down today, and I don't think it can be fixed. We can only hope that something new and wonderful will emerge from the ashes.
If I was an advocate of Appreciative Inquiry this story would never be told. Instead we'd be talking about the wonderful citizens we've created by teaching them to stay within the lines. How sad!